UNIFEM Cites Gender Digital Divide As Global Issue

Unless information and communications technologies (ICTs) are equally shared between women and men, the economic and social gap between sexes will worsen, warns Noeleen Heyzer, the head of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). In Guyana, for instance, a group of rural women generated new wealth when they used their website to sell 17 hand-woven hammocks, 1000 dollars each. But male leaders took control of their ICTs, leaving women to comment, “We women do most of the work, and the men get rewarded.” Though ICTs can potentially eradicate poverty and increase global connectivity, they can also exacerbate gender inequality. “If the global community and national level policy makers are not pro-active about ensuring that the benefits of ICTs are equally available to and shaped by women and men, we will fail to reap the full potential of these powerful tools,” Heyzer said.


Inter Press Service, 10 July 2000

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